Updated: Aug 30, 2019
Have yourself a merry little Christmas Let your heart be light From now on your troubles will be out of sight…
The song was playing on my car radio, and for maybe the first time it struck me how absurd it is. Maybe it was the text message I’d just received, telling me about Grant’s high school teammate, being rushed to the hospital with head injuries, unresponsive. His young bride a best friend of my own best friends, and here she is, Christmas on its merry way, and all she can see is trouble, no doubt.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all about the lights and all things light-hearted during this most wonderful time of the year. My child-heart lives for this month of wonder. From Thanksgiving to New Years I can ignore gloomy forecasts and gloomier newscasts sitting in the glow of a Christmas tree. But always right there on the edge of delight is this nagging thought. January’s coming, like it always does.
January came by way of a phone call last night. Sobering news we’d been expecting, a reminder we’re not living in a fairytale. I was in the kitchen, my Apple Music set to carols, baking our family’s favorite almond cookies, and I could hear Kyle down the hall, advising, surmising, this impossibly broken situation. What more can we do?
Wednesday morning I told the MOMs group at church about how I’m an Advent junky. I love this season. Love. Advent means Coming. The coming of Jesus, as a babe in a manger, and His coming again as Victorious King. This year, especially, I’ve been near to obsession, fixed on the latter. This coming again, and all that’s awaiting.
It was the middle of the night after we lit our first Advent candle when I found Eldredge’s book. All Things New. I’ve read it once from cover to cover, and I’m starting again for a second read. The author says this in his final chapter:
The renewal of all things is the most beautiful, hopeful, glorious promise ever made in any story, religion, philosophy, or fairy tale. And it is real.
This story we’re living, with all it’s broken and tragic disappointments has a fairytale ending after all.
Earlier this week Pastor Sean said something to me in a brief conversation, and it was so insightful, I wrote it down. He was talking about the way things were back in the Garden of Eden, before we were broken, and why we’re so desperate to get back what we lost. We were perfect in Eden. PERFECT. Not broken. Why wouldn’t this perfection be our soul’s inclination? No wonder we live with these fairytale dreams.
A merry little Christmas, and all our troubles out of sight.
We sang Joy to the World at staff prayer on Tuesday, and apparently this is the week for me to critique our carols. As we finished our singing I said it out loud. It’s not really about Christmas. Our most popular carol, no baby, no manger. Just – Joy to the world, the Lord has come…
And then Nate spoke up to answer my question. It’s about His return, His second coming.
You’ve got to be kidding. I can’t escape it. This ADVENT. This COMING. Maybe this is what Christmas is really about?
Joy to the world, the Lord has come! Let earth receive her King Let every heart prepare Him room And Heaven and nature sing And Heaven and nature sing And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing
Joy to the World, the Savior reigns! Let men their songs employ While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains Repeat the sounding joy Repeat the sounding joy Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy
No more let sins and sorrows grow Nor thorns infest the ground He comes to make His blessings flow Far as the curse is found Far as the curse is found Far as, far as, the curse is found
He rules the world with truth and grace And makes the nations prove The glories of His righteousness And wonders of His love And wonders of His love And wonders, wonders, of His love
By Isaac Watts, 1719